A hybrid you can aspire to

21st Mar, 2014

A MID-sized SUV with a microcar-sized thirst is Mitsubishi’s entry into the hybrid market.

Far from following the skinny tyre-tracks of the unloved i-MiEV, the Outlander PHEV is the most practical petrol-electric hybrid to go on sale in Australia.

The latest Outlander — Mitsubishi already sells petrol and diesel versions — can tow up to 1500kg yet uses just 1.9L/100km.

The entry level PHEV costs $47,490, or $11,000 more than the comparable petrol LS-spec model. The petrol-electric version adds a smart key, highintensity discharge headlamps, alloy wheels and Mitsubishi’s top-shelf AWD.

The PHEV Aspire is $52,490, a premium of $8600 on the petrol Aspire model.

The price increase comes from developing the 12kW/h lithium-ion under-floor battery and the motors to drive each axle, along with the software needed to run the car either as a pure electric vehicle, a series hybrid with the petrol engine recharging the battery, or as a parallel hybrid with the engine also helping with front-drive.

Mitsubishi Australia spokeswoman Shayna Welsh rates the pricing as sharp and well in line with other hybrids.

“It should appeal to buyers of regular medium SUVs as well as hybrid adopters,” she says. “There’s also been interest from fleets who have a commitment to lowering emissions or want a certain percentage of green vehicles. The Outlander gives them two cars in one. It has all the space of a regular SUV with all the advantage of a hybrid.”

Mitsubishi says the vehicles will run for up to 52km on a full battery charge. Then the 2.0- litre petrol engine fires up to recharge the battery up to 80 per cent capacity.

Plug the PHEV in at home via a 15-amp socket and it should take about five hours to recharge a depleted battery.

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